Archives for category: Oxford University Press (OUP)

Image result for the maker of monsters lorraine gregory book

Published by Oxford University Press

NY Published: May 2019

A fun Frankenstein-esque tale. A wild adventure of escape and bravery. It reminded me a little of Stitch Head (Guy Bass), that I reviewed some time ago, I think. This has fewer illustrations (so perhaps for readers who are a little older) and revolves around our hero, trying to do something about hoard of revengeful monsters…on the way making friends and standing up for what is right.

This has some wonderful character parts too – particularly Tingle and Sherman, Brat’s original friends…

Perfect for those who are beginning to get their reading legs going – a wild rampage of a book…

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Image result for the last spell breather julie pike oup

Published by Oxford University Press

NY Published – July 2019

Words. Children are often told to ignore words thrown to hurt. As though words can’t, though we all know that sometimes a hurtful word is just as bad as a thrown fist. We all also know that they can be positive. It’s all relative. This takes that a little further.

Words can heal – a spell if you like, but should be carefully administered. Carefully blown over the patient, otherwise issues may arise. A book damaged by fire has repercussions that are far from the usual and results in an adventure like nothing before. This has leanings towards the story of the Magician’s Apprentice, but develops into a tale all of its own.

This is an engrossing, charming tale of sisterly jealousy, bravery and a warning to take care of books…

 

 

Image result for midnight at moonstone flecker oxford university press

Published by Oxford University Press.

I was supposed to be reading another Pushkin title, however, I finished the book I had taken to work the day before yesterday, in my lunch break, and minutes after a parcel was put in my hands: two new proofs for me to read from OUP. This was one of them.

I can’t claim to know anything about fashion. I love old fabrics though – those with embroidery, interesting patterns to the weave – and colour. I do like good design too – though sadly I spend most of my time wearing trousers / jeans and t-shirts. More practical for lugging totes of books about…

This is a rather gorgeous and flamboyant story set in a museum of fashion – a miniature Victoria & Albert if you will. Kit is artistic – she is interested in colour and art. Her father isn’t. Can’t see the use of learning to sew…and would like her to attend the William Siddis Memorial School in London, an academic establishment with little time for the arts. Kit would not. She would prefer to study at St. Leopold’s…a school with a different emphasis. She runs away…

One reason I loved this so much was the other dimension to the story…Lara’s expertise is that of a costume expert at the V&A Museum in London (she’s been a senior textile conservation display specialist at the V&A for 15 odd years) and this colours the story beautifully. If anything I would have liked more input about the history of fashions and fabrics, however, it may be that it would have taken away some of the flow of this rather fun story.

You will have gathered that I loved it. The cover of the proof has a lovely sketch of a rather cross looking character with a fan and a dress with a rather large hooped skirt with the sort of decoration I love…with flowers sewn on to it. There’s an illustration on the back, of what is proposed as the cover that the book will have – which is a development, I think of that of the proof.

I would love for the book to have been covered with a photograph of some old 17th c / 18 c fabric…but perhaps that wouldn’t be so enticing for younger readers… The book, though, promises to be illustrated with fold out flaps – showing the costume detail in ‘full-colour’ detail…

I am hoping to have Lara and Trisha (the illustrator) to come for an event at Waterstones O2 – keep an eye on the Waterstones web site….all the detail will be there – if they say yes!

I do hope they do!

Image result for riddle of the runes

Published by OUP

Illustrated by David Wyatt of Podkin fame – this is Janina’s first book for children. Up to now she has been writing academic books and papers, which I am sure are very knowledgeable, but can’t be as much fun as this small volume. David Wyatt’s pictures complement the story superbly. Her more erudite titles are listed at the bottom of this blog.

Alva lives with her Viking uncle, her mother, baby brother, her uncle’s pet raven and a wolf in Norway. Her father never returned home from his last adventure.

Alva is a curious, determined young girl and when her village is thrown into a mystery that involves a group of monks from Northumberland, kidnap and revenge she can’t help herself and becomes entangled in an adventure like she has never done before.

A story of revenge, adventure and bravery and one of families, and family ties…

A book to savour – suitable to be read by youngsters, but also to be enjoyed as an evening story before retiring to bed…

I am pleased to say that the book looks to be the first of a series – it is noted as being Viking Mystery 1 – from which we can assume and hope for further books about Alva and her wolf.

The Private Lives of the Saints (2016 Paperback)

Julian of Norwich (2017 Paperback)

Published by Oxford University Press

Anger. True anger, the sort where nothing else matters is usually indicated by shouting, red faces, noise and confusion.

This book is about the power of anger.

The power of revenge.

Families and real friendship.

It is a tale of power. The use of power for good and the not so good.

It is the story of Ned Harrison Arkle-Smith, his two sisters and his parents who have decided that they can no longer continue to live together as husband and wife.

Though rather than sell their home, with its large staircase and hall, they decide to keep the family together by splitting the house between them. So when Ned returns from a trip away, he finds his home divided by walls. The front hall now has two doors. One for his Dad, the other for his Mum and the year will be split with him and sisters visiting each parent on alternate weeks.

This is not how things are supposed to be.  Ned can’t see why things can’t be the way they were. He can’t understand his sisters either and when he finds his best friend has made new friends, and has new interests from the summer, his anger grows.

Written in the first person this is also a brilliant book about parents. Who on the whole do try to make things as right as they can. Its about change, friendship and dealing with things.

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Oxford University Press

Sailing – especially in small boats is an almost visceral occupation for some. For others, it is a mechanical procedure, hardly understood. Then again others know the physics, the mathematics, but would never step on board.

St Kilda is an island off the west coast of Scotland. The most remote part of the Outer Hebrides. Bleak and uninhabited, apart from the birds and sheep – and even these are different from the usual woolly ruminant. There used to be a small hamlet, and the army have had a base there, but on the whole, it is left to the birds (and the sheep). It is a desolate place. A place, on the whole, deserted.  A place where you could, if you can reach it, disappear. Escape from life, perhaps, just for a while.

Jamie’s family build boats, and sail them. Theirs, so far, have never capsized and his grandfather intuitively, it seems, builds beautiful small vessels and hopes that Jamie might follow in his footsteps… though he thinks he should become a stronger swimmer, before learning to sail.

Jamie, however, has a secret.

This is a lovely book about boats, sailing, friendship, a dog, and bravery.

The illustration below, is I think, a picture of a ‘swell’ – and I have ‘nicked’ it from the Internet again – from Pinterest – Beth Robertson Fiddes / Dark Sea St Kilda. Somehow it fits this story…it gives the feeling of menace…

Published by Oxford

This is, by far, my favourite book by Gill Lewis.

It is the story of two brothers. It is also the story of hen harriers and a divided community. Its about standing up for what is right, or what you believe is right. Its a story of acceptance, learning and supporting one another. Its a story of a family, and yes, a story of two brothers.

It is a wonderful book. It should be read along side A Very Good Chance by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald – it has a similar positive vibe.

The world is changing, there is nothing new in that. Sometimes it can be a good thing. We need to nurture these positives against the negatives. They may be small, but they are important.

This is brilliant – absolutely brilliant.

This superb picture is by Mark Hamlin (www.discoverwildlife.com).

Published by OUP

I always remember this book for three reasons. The first is that it is a very good story – the first that was published by this author. The second reason, because it is about a bird of prey and the third, because the title is a misnomer.

The story is brilliant, so much so I organised for a school to have an event based around the book. I love birds of prey and the book is a superb story about ospreys, and a nest that is found on a farm in Scotland…

When the author came to give her talk – which was filled with natural history and information about how the book came to be written, I asked her about the title. After all the book is about an osprey – an eagle, and not a hawk.

Oxford University Press’ decision to inaccurately (in my view) give the story this title has mystified me ever since. It is a good title. It should not, however, have been given to this book – there are many others it could have had.  So, this book is not about a hawk, it is about an eagle – and children who become bound into its story.

If you think birds of prey are extraordinary creatures or you love birds or wildlife and adventure, then this is the book for you.

Gill Lewis has written quite a number of books for this age group since this came out:

White Dolphin / Moon Bear / Scarlet Ibis / Gorilla Dawn / Sky Dancer (October / Hen Harriers).

 

 

This is a stunningly beautiful slim small volume. It contains a simple tale of a small group of people; adults, children and a dog.  Adrift in the sea in a boat. They don’t have much to share: their stories, a scarf, a scrap of food, the warmth and affection of an animal and a violin. The violinist, who couldn’t leave his instrument behind, plays some music and tells his story and that of the violin in his hands…

This is a book about freedom – hope and bravery.

 

 

 

 

Image result for coyote summer thebo

Published by Oxford University Press

The story of a troubled, young, rich and indulged teenager uprooted from her secure and comfortable life in London and left in the wilds of Kansas on her aunt’s farm. This is a moving, brilliantly written superb tale of growing up, responsibilities and taking on the challenges of disappointment, whilst working towards something important. Life on a Kansas farm is far harder, both physically and mentally than she expects and she is driven to continue her love of dancing out in the wilds, in private, with just a coyote looking on. Dancers should definitely read this…

It is a wonderful book, something for the Summer holidays and one to disappear into – I think it is better than her first book, Dreaming the Bear which is always a very good sign – and something that really pleases me too, it has the right ending – buy it.

On searching the Internet for photographs of the cover, it seems there was a film also called Coyote Summer, released in 1996

This looks to be a better story – I haven’t seen the film though!